Welcome to Heard’s Visual Arts gallery. In these posts you’ll find images of our client’s original art. Enjoy!
Each artist whose likeness and/or work is posted on our site has signed a Heard media release or verbally given permission for their likeness and/or the artistic work they created to be posted on this site and shared via our social media platforms.
We were beyond excited when our partner Casa Chirilagua wanted to bring back “Fun Friday” with us! We had started Fun Fridays with them earlier this year, then had to cancel when that Friday time was needed for homework help after school re-opened. Starting Fun Friday was double good news – it was a chance for us to bring art and creativity to these cute kids, and they didn’t need as much homework assistance. High fives all the way around!
The setup was a new one for us: Three 30 minute classes for 13 kids in grades 1 – 5. Whew! That’s a lot of kids in a short amount of time! And of course we delivered! In fact, our art teacher Sharmila Karamchandani told us quite a few times how much she loved working with the kids – their innocence, their openness, their freedom of expression.
For the inaugural project Sharmila asked them to draw gratitude trees – who and what are you grateful for, and write that on your branches. And armed with colored pencils and plenty of paper, the kids drew us mommies and daddies, raspberries, owls, and friends. Here’s a few photos to make you say “aaaaawwwww.”
Imagine if you created your Tibetan Prayer Flag, with your own affirmations. Tibetan Prayer Flags are traditionally believed to bring happiness, peace, prosperity, good fortune, health and victory over obstacles. Who doesn’t want that? The residents of Friends of Guest House created their own flags on August 23, 2021 under the loving direction of our amazing Sharmila Karamchandani. Take a look at these videos and photos, and listen to the powerful messages these brave women created for themselves.
I don’t know who had more fun this week – our artist art, or the kids at Casa Chirilagua. Once again Sharmila asked the kids (4th, 5th, and 6th graders) to create their superhero with special superpowers that the world needs. And as always, the most important part of our work is the voluntary sharing the last 20 minutes of the class. Who is your superhero? What are its superpowers? Why? Even the volunteers got into the act and as Sharmila said on her Facebook page: “There are a lot of healthy social skills that can develop when kids feel safe and free to engage with older adult/mentors during such creative endeavors.” Check out these world-saving creations!
We’re happy when our artists are happy! Bonus if our partners and clients are too. So we hit the trifecta earlier this week when our visual artist Sharmila Karamchandani was able to go back onsite at Friends of Guest House. While Zoom classes allowed us to survive the pandemic, it wasn’t the same. We (and all of us) struggled with blurry images, poor connection, not enough cameras at our partner sites, people leaving mid-class because of connectivity, lack of supplies, etc. “What a relief it was to feel that joy again to see all the women face-to-face!” Sharmila wrote on her Facebook page.
Wednesday, July 1, was an exciting day, and not just because it is July! We held our first event with the Alexandria nonprofit Space of Her Own – a wonderful mentoring program for preteen girls. What better way to kickstart our new relationship than our She-Art project? We got to know each other over Lena’s Wood-Fired Pizza & Tap (one of my fave Alexandria pizza places, btw) then our amazing Alison McHugh led 12 girls and mentors through creating their own avatar with their own motivational phrase(s) on a 6″ x 6″ tile.
Over the next two hours the girls selected “She creates from her heart” “She turns her dreams into reality” “She makes everyone feel loved” and more as they focused on phrases that resonated with them while creating themselves with colored paper, scissors, glue, and imagination. We ended our session – way too soon – with everyone sharing their new masterpiece and why they chose and created what they did. Til next time, SOHO! We loved hanging out with you and can’t wait to do it again!
June 28, 2021 – Who doesn’t need an affirmation every once in awhile – or every day – to remind us of our awesomeness? Sometimes it’s hard to remember our unique and special selves, especially on those days when the rest of the world seems to say otherwise. So, our Heard artist Alison McHugh led the Friends of Guest House women through this wonderful papercraft class where they each chose their own affirmation (pre-printed, or they could create their own) and designed cards that they can place on a dresser, vanity, or desk to remind them of their greatness or to motivate them with love. What do you think?
We all wear masks. We wear masks that reflect who we want to be to the outside world, and we wear masks that we wear only to ourselves. Our amazing art teacher Sharmila led the women of ALIVE! House through this project last night, with such power results! They each shared what their masks represented and gave us permission to share their masks – some of them – with you!
Sometimes opportunities present themselves that are just too good to resist. And sometimes good people come together in strange and beautiful ways. That happened on January 22, 2021, when we partnered with 7 Sisters International, a nonprofit in Assam, India, that provides care for trafficked girls in South Asia, for a one-time arts project. How did this happen? Their founder was a friend and peer of our founder when they both served in the United States Air Force. Our India-born Sharmila Karamchandani was thrilled to teach a class in her native Hindi, despite the 12 1/2 hour time difference. She tells the story so well, which we lifted and edited from her Facebook post. Video and photos follow. And I love this video of Sharmila teaching this class in Hindi.
Happy new year everyone! Heard held its last class of 2020 at Friends of Guest House yesterday. Sharmila asked the women to create two puppets – one of the person who has had the most positive influence on you, and one of yourself. If you shared what you created, you were asked to share three interesting facts about you through your puppet.
Meet Crystal. She loves to work with hair, to sew, and to read. The puppet on the right is her mom. She always encouraged Crystal to think about people who had it worse than her and then she would always feel how blessed she truly was.
The puppet in Meet Tonya. Don’t you love her pink hair? To the right of Tonya’s puppet of herself is an unnamed family member who always stood by her and never gave up on her. This family member may have been a bit disappointed with her when she got in trouble but never stopped loving her.
This last puppet is of Sharmila’s brother who she credits as her role model and hero, and who introduced her to reading, music and strong values. Sharmila said that he has been extremely supportive of her in every step of her life, and she would not be the same [amazing] person if she did not have him in her life.
As you start 2021, who is your puppet avatar?